It is right to use computers to teach kids computational thinking

Computers and computing are ubiquitous.

In my work as a scientist, I know that learning to control computers through code is important, and knowing how to structure code through computational thinking is fundamental.

I believe that knowledge of computational thinking will become even more important in future.

As a parent, I am interested in teaching my children in ways that help them internalise complex concepts.

To me, this generally means mindful play through fun activities, which may include screen time and computer games.

I have found that the mindful use of computer games can be extremely effective in engaging and teaching my children a variety of things.

It is particularly relevant to teach computational thinking on computers (Computational thinking: Kids don't need digital games to learn it, by Dr Rebecca Chan; May 28).

The American Paediatric Association has recently recognised the ubiquitous role of computers in young children's lives and highlighted the importance of parents as "media mentors" to teach young children how to use computers as tools to create, connect and learn.

The guided use of screens, computers and devices can significantly enrich our (and our children's) lives, as long as they do not displace offline activities, interaction and reflection.

Chia Poh Hui (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2017, with the headline 'It is right to use computers to teach kids computational thinking'. Print Edition | Subscribe